Making Money Transfers To, From, and Within Mexico

Money transfers —sometimes termed as money wires— refers to the transfer of cash or cash-equivalent funds between parties or bank accounts within Mexico, or between Mexico and a foreign country.

Making international money transfers to and from Mexico

You can transfer money electronically to and from Mexico between bank accounts, or you can use an over-the counter international money transfer service.

International transfer to and from a Mexican bank account

If you have a bank account abroad and a bank account in Mexico, you can make an international money transfer using the special numbers provided by the banks.  You can make the transfer in one of two ways:

Direct interbank transfer

You instruct the bank abroad to wire the payment to a bank account in Mexico, or you instruct your Mexican bank to make a payment to a bank abroad.

Both the sending and receiving bank will make a charge for the transfer, and they will also make money on the exchange rate. Check with the banks to ask about fees and exchange rates.

Interbank transfer using an intermediary

If you are sending money to Mexico, you can optionally use a money transfer intermediary who will wire the money and usually offer a better exchange rate and/or lower fees than direct interbank transfers.

Wise (formerly Transferwise) and are examples of intermediary services.  Note that these only work on transfers to Mexico; if you want to wire money out of Mexico you must use a direct interbank transfer through a Mexican bank, you cannot use an intermediary.

Beware of fraud when wiring money

Be careful with links in emails and text messages related to money transfer. It’s best to visit the financial institution’s official website (or official App) directly to initiate any transfer and prevent possible fraud.

Before wiring funds to a third party you are working with for the first time, confirm the bank details you are sending to by telephoning or securely messaging the intended recipient using a known-good contact number.

When wiring large amounts of money, you might want to send a small amount first, as a test. Treat any request to change wire instructions you have already received with suspicion, especially if you are in the throes of buying or selling a home.

Over-the-counter international money transfers

If you are transferring smaller sums and want to use over-the-counter money transfer services, here’s the general process:

  • The person sending you money goes to their nearest money transfer agency and makes the payment plus associated charges, telling their local branch what city the money should be sent to
  • The money is wired to that city and, to claim it, the recipient goes to an establishment that represents the agency (e.g., Western Union), shows a photo identification and claims the transferred amount using the reference number provided to them by the sender. To send money from Mexico to a destination overseas, it’s the same process in reverse.
  • Over-the-counter transfers work for smaller sums of money, e.g., a small few thousand dollars at most; the agencies offering this service impose limits for transfer amounts and the fee structure they have make larger transfers unattractive.
  • It’s more expensive to transfer money using an over-the-counter service than using an interbank transfer.
  • The main money transfer agencies are Western Union and MoneyGram are two leading over-the-counter money transfer companies operating in Mexico. Some banks and stores are agents for these companies.

Money transfer limits to and from Mexico

Mexico does not restrict money transfers into or out of the country, although sums in excess of US$10,000 —or foreign currency equivalentcarried physically into or out of Mexico in cash (or ‘negotiable’ cash-like instruments) need to be declared at the border. Failure to declare cash amounts in excess of this can result in the confiscation of the money.

Electronic transfers of any amount may be reported by the bank or money transfer company to government agencies.

Money transfers within Mexico

If you’re in Mexico and need to transfer money domestically, there are two ways to do this without the need to write and post a check. (The writing and posting of paper checks is not a common practice in Mexico, nor is it recommended.)

Interbank electronic transfers

Transferring money electronically between two Mexican bank accounts is straightforward. You can transfer money instantly from your Mexican bank account to any other Mexican bank account using online banking (web browser), the bank’s app (using a smartphone or tablet), or by visiting the bank in person and authorizing the transfer of the money.

Over-the-counter cash transfers and deposits

Convenience stores in Mexico, including OXXO and 7-Eleven, offer cash-transfer and bank deposit services. Ask at your local OXXO or 7-Eleven for details about the services, transfer/deposit limits, and current fees.

Transfers: You pay cash at one of the convenience stores and pass a code to the intended named recipient.  That other person can attend the same brand  convenience store in their locality and, using the code and an official ID, can receive the cash.

Bank deposits: You can also pay money into some (not all) Mexican bank accounts from OXXO and 7-Eleven convenience stores.  There is a small fee for making the deposit, but it can be quicker and easier than going to the bank branch.

Learn about managing your money in Mexico

Mexperience offers you a wealth of information about Mexico’s money, banking services, and banknotes.

The information published in this article is provided for general information in good faith and is not intended as personal, legal, financial or investment advice.

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